If you were around a MMA fan on Friday night, you probably heard him or her say, “That was one of the greatest fights I’ve ever seen,” in reference to the UFC Fight Night 33 headliner between Mark Hunt and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. The same sentiment was echoed throughout Twitter and all over the MMA forums even before the judges’ decision was announced.

We’re often too quick to call something the “greatest ever.” Just last December we were clamoring to say that Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos gave us the best heavyweight fight at UFC 155. Less than two months ago, the “greatest fight ever” label was being thrown onto the battle between Gilbert Melendez and Diego Sanchez. Fans and media often have a knee-jerk reaction and say something is the best ever without letting it sink in for a couple of days.

The fight we witnessed between Hunt and Bigfoot at UFC Fight Night 33 is different. It deserves to be called the best UFC heavyweight fight of all time, and not just because it ended up with two guys who could barely stand while blood dripped from their faces. This was a great fight because it embodies the spirit of everything the UFC is supposed to be.

Some might think Hunt vs. Silva was a refreshed version of the first Griffin vs. Bonnar fight, but what the “Super Samoan” and Bigfoot gave us was so much more. This wasn’t just fighters throwing wild haymakers until one connected. Amid all the fatigue and blood was an excellent attempt at a tactical fight.

I was of the belief that Silva was going to do whatever he could to take the fight to the ground. I can’t imagine that was a bold prediction by any means. After all, Hunt isn’t known for his takedown and submission defense. Instead of going for the takedown, Silva was content with battering the lead leg of Hunt by peppering it with kicks. Silva would switch stances every now and then, but seemed a bit timid for the first few minutes. Hunt continued to load up on his punches, as most of us expected, but then completely blindsided us. The few times Silva went for a takedown early on in the fight, Hunt was able to stuff the majority of them. As the fight wore on, Hunt made a few attempts, some successful, at taking Silva down. It was a turn of events that really threw me for a loop, but it was fun to see the two completely contradict what they were projected to do.

Towards the middle of the third round was when it really started to feel like we were watching something special. The two kept going back and forth for the entire 25 minutes. Right when you thought Hunt was about to win, Silva would come back. When Hunt was out on his feet, he’d land a punch and be right back in the fight.

It was a fight that appeased both the diehards and the casual viewers of the sport. In essence, it was a marketing dream for the UFC, especially considering it was broadcast on Fox Sports 1. There’s no way anyone who turned on this fight was able to turn it off. Hunt and Silva captivated both an arena and television audience in a way that doesn’t happen very often.

After it was all said and done, the fight ended in a draw. How many sporting events have you watched that ended in a tie in which you said to yourself, “I’m glad it ended that way”? Probably never, unless you happen to have a pair of siblings battling it out on the professional sports circuit somewhere. The point is that fans are rarely ever happy with a draw in any fight, but that’s exactly what happened in Australia. Bruce Buffer announced the judges’ scorecards and referee Steve Perceval raised the hand of both Hunt and Silva. It was the perfect ending to a perfect fight for a fan.

What’s a perfect fight without a little bit of judging controversy? Judge Charlie Keech scored the bout 48-47 for Hunt. Judges Barry Foley and Kon Papaiannou both had the fight 39-37 for Silva heading into the final round. In the eyes of both Foley and Papaiannou, Hunt earned a 10-8 score in the fifth round to bring the fight to a 47-47 draw. I find it very hard to believe these judges actually scored the fifth round on its own without taking into account the overall outcome of the fight. The fight was so good, and the fighters were so respectful of each other, that I also have no problem with the draw. I would have hated to have seen one of them have to walk out as a loser.

I don’t know how a fight can be more exciting to watch than this one. Everything came to a head at a perfect time. I’ve watched hundreds upon hundreds of fights over the last 20 years and I’ve never had so many “Oh Shit!” moments during the course of a fight. I always advise on taking a step back to soak things in for a bit before ranking a fight, but nothing tops this.

Mark Hunt vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva turned out to be the greatest UFC heavyweight fight of all time.

Photo: Hunt (front) battles Silva at UFC Fight Night 33 (Fight News Australia)

About The Author

Joe Chacon
Staff Writer

Joe Chacon is a Southern California writer that has also spent time as a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, as well as a Staff Writer for Operation Sports. Joe has a passion for the sport of MMA, as well as most other sports.